iTech Solutions - for all of your IBM i System needs
In honor of announcement day, Lifetime IBM Power Systems Champion and President of iTech Solutions, Pete Massiello, wrote The Business Value of Keeping your Hardware and Software Current, which has been featured in the IBM 2020 iSight blog series.
There are many resources that go into detail of the refresh itself, including Steve Will’s announcement blog, and events like iTech’s Sips & Tricks Coffee Series where Pete Massiello and Steve Pitcher will be discussing their favorite things about the refreshes.
Working from home was a wish for many over the years, and some companies would allow it, and others wouldn’t. Many people, upwards of 75% state they would like to work from home, but is it all that it is cracked up to be?
With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are all learning rather quickly what it is like to work from home. There are certainly benefits to working from home, but there are also some disadvantages. I would say it’s not for everyone, but in times like today, we all have to do our best. So, if you have never worked from home and the virus has forced you home, this is your chance to try it out. To make an analogy, this is like going to the mall to purchase some sneakers, and you walk around the inside of the mall to see how you like them. If they feel good, maybe you will purchase them. Let’s find out how to survive.
Effective with IBM’s announcement in 2018 for the withdrawal from marketing of their ProtecTIER hardware and software products and their intention to announce the “End of Support” for ProtecTIER products to be effective in November 2020, those IBM customers that are utilizing the IBM ProtecTIER products will need to have a plan for moving off the ProtecTIER appliance before the end of this year.
The following ProtecTIER hardware and software products were affected by that announcement:
iTech Solutions has a lot of experience with the Virtual Tape Library (VTL) environment and we would recommend that current customers of the IBM ProtecTIER products consider the Cybernetics suite of VTL products as a replacement for their environments.
This article was originally written for and published on MC Press Online. The original article can be found here.
With supply chain uncertainty, it makes sense to not delay your 2020 purchase of POWER9 and storage.
The new COVID-19 virus is making its way around the globe. In response, governments are issuing travel embargoes, companies are ordering staff to work from home if possible, and people are stocking up on groceries, fuel, and water.
IBM has recently requested its workers in China, Japan, South Korea, and Italy work from home and has designed contingency plans for employees elsewhere (the details of those plans were unavailable at the time of writing this article). Participation at conferences, meetings, and trade shows will be evaluated on an individual basis. Company travel is restricted to some locations, and just recently IBM cancelled its in-person participation at the RSA cyber security conference in San Francisco from February 24–28, along with other tech giants like AT&T and Verizon. There are no stated plans for IBM to scale down participation for other conferences. My guess is they’re in a wait-and-see mode like most companies: reduce risk as events unfold.
This article was originally written and posted within 2020 February COMMON Connect. The original article can be found here.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding the IBM i OS is, should I upgrade to 7.3 or 7.4? The answer is: it depends. When it comes to deciding whether you should go to 7.3 or 7.4 you have to take dependencies, features and life expectancy into consideration.
Before you decide, you need to verify which IBM i versions your hardware can support. There are dependencies between the hardware you are running and what OS level it can support. If you are limited by your hardware, then you don’t have much choice in the matter. We suggest you upgrade to the highest OS level that is compatible with your Power System.
It was 9 PM on a Sunday night about a year ago when I received a call on my cell phone from a local IBM i customer. For the purposes of this article, we’ll call him…Gary. I reached out to Gary a couple of times before to introduce myself but never had any return communication until then. Turns out, Gary had a down system. His staff did an IPL and the system just wouldn’t come back online. He did what we all would do and called IBM support. Unfortunately, they told him that he had no software maintenance contract. He then called his then-partner. No answer.
I immediately sent a GoToMeeting to the customer and texted iTech Solutions’ President Pete Massiello to have him on alert that I may need some backup. Pete, being Pete, was on the GoToMeeting faster than the customer.
I wrote an article on LinkedIn called “Shocking… IBM i Cost of Storage beyond the CEC: EXP-24S or V3700 SAN?” back in 2016 that sparked many conversations on what place external storage has in the IBM i hardware stack. As a result of the popularity of my previous article, big innovation in the storage market, changes in storage costs, and a much more open IBM i infrastructure stack, it seemed like a really good time to go through the exercise again.
I don’t think it’s my place to sell you on whether internal or external storage is better. Honestly, I believe there is a strong case to be made for both, depending on the customer situation. With that being said I think it’s important I share my experience and knowledge, so you have what you need to make an informed decision for the businesses you serve.
For IBM i clients, typically there are a few reasons why they start to ponder a move to external storage:
There’s no doubt that podcasts have become the new media Goliath. Podcasting is seeing rapid growth year over year. According to Podcast Insights1, 51% of the US Population (approximately 144 million people) have listened to a podcast, with this number being up from 44% in 2018. Hundreds of new podcasts are being developed daily with no end to this growth trend in sight.
Podcasting is a go-to source for entertainment, education, and news; mostly produced on for the traditional B2C consumer. However, there’s a growing trend of educational entertainment that is matching the listener’s passions and professions while creating a unique B2B listener experience. Listeners can now get fresh content spoken directly from industry colleagues and thought leaders on topics that are relevant to their day to day pains and gains. These B2B podcasts impart relatable experience while you, the listener, get to learn about your industry trends, new product releases, and tips and tricks, all while feeling some camaraderie in the dialog of these people you already know or know of.
Many executives talk about moving their business applications off the IBM i. They think the platform is dead, courtesy of the people who have been saying this for the past 20 years. While we know, the platform is open and offers businesses rock-solid availability, reliability, and securability.
They could also be thinking they will save money on hardware. While that may be true, there will be more servers, requiring more space, more electricity, more cooling, and more human resources to support them. In reality, they save nothing and perhaps spend more. And they increase their risk of downtime and security vulnerability.
So, now that you have to deal with the board room decision, what should you do?
Most IBM i customers have an ERP package on their IBM Power server that runs their business. Typically, a small or mid-sized company can comfortably operate with one Power9 core activation, that provides a CPW of 13,125. The IBM Power9 model S914 has two processor options, a 4-core, and a 6-core. Which one do you get if you only need 1 core activation? The 4-core server is physically the same as the 6-core server, except for the processor and the other differences shown in the table below.
|Maximum Internal Disk Drives||10 (283GB HDD or 387GB SSD)||672, many HDD & SSD sizes|
|BUS Expansion||None||1 drawer – 6 adapter slots|
|Software Tier Group||P05||P10|
Let’s discuss each of these differences in more detail:
IBM i 7.3 TR7 and 7.4 TR1 were announced during IBM Tech U and will be generally available on November 16, 2019. This refresh includes many enhancements to improve further the reliability, availability, and security of your IBM i environment. Some of the major enhancements are focused on DB2 Mirror for IBM i, enhancements to help developers modernize, increased security, and support for new hardware.
I’m going to highlight some of the features that improve the security and administration of your system. There are also many enhancements for RDi that will improve developer productivity and allow you to modernize with additional support for Open Source languages and tools. I don’t plan to get into the details of those enhancements in this article, but I will touch on them. You can get more details about all of the enhancements here.
We have some great news! As of just recently, iTech Solutions has become an HCL Business Partner.
For starters, iTech can now review your existing IBM maintenance agreements for the following products:
Why should we review your maintenance agreements before renewal?
It’s plain and simple. You must execute backups daily. No excuses! It’s not just about being able to recover in a disaster; you also need to be able to recover a file that is accidentally overwritten or deleted.
If you have high availability and you think you don’t need to back up every day, you really should reconsider your strategy. Replication ensures that your target and source data are in sync, but if you delete a record or several records you need, you can’t get them back with replication. Backups protect your business data, which is a valuable asset.